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Persian Flatbread Recipe

Persian Flatbread

Nan-e barbari is a classic Persian flatbread that gets crisp and golden in the oven, thanks to roomal, a flour paste that's spread over the bread before it's baked. Jessamyn Rodriguez likes to serve it with feta and olives.



2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
4 c. bread flour
bread flour
1 tsp. vegetable oil
vegetable oil
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
Semolina or cornmeal
1 tbsp. Nigella seeds
1 tbsp. sesame seeds

  1. In bowl of a standing mixer fitted with dough hook, combine 2 cups of lukewarm water with yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 4 cups of bread flour and 2 teaspoons of salt and mix at medium speed until a loose dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and mix until dough is supple and smooth, about 6 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 1 minute. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free spot until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  2. Punch down dough and form into 2 ovals. Transfer ovals to an oiled baking sheet, cover with a sheet of oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine all-purpose flour with sugar, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup of water. Cook flour paste over moderate heat, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Let flour paste cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and set a pizza stone on lowest rack. Let stone heat for at least 30 minutes. Generously sprinkle a pizza peel (as shovel-like board) with semolina. Punch down 1 piece of dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Press dough to a 14- by- 5-inch rectangle, then transfer to peel; shake peel lightly to make sure dough doesn't stick, adding more semolina if necessary. Using your fingers, press 5 deep lengthwise ridges into dough. Rub about one-third of flour paste over surface and sprinkle with half of nigella and sesame seeds. Slide dough onto hot stone and bake for about 18 minutes, until golden and risen. Repeat to make second loaf (there will be some paste leftover). Serve warm. 

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